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Accelerated Innovations for Sustainable, Open HPC

Opinion editorial from Jeff McVeigh of Intel Corporation:

As we embark on the exascale era and sprint towards zettascale, the technology industry's contribution to global carbon emissions is also growing. It has been estimated that by 2030, between 3% and 7% of global energy production will be consumed by data centers, with computing infrastructure being a top driver of new electricity use.

This year, Intel committed to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in our global operations by 2040 and to develop more sustainable technology solutions. Keeping up with the insatiable demands for computing while creating a sustainable future is one of the biggest challenges for high performance computing (HPC). While daunting, it is achievable if we address every part of the HPC compute stack - silicon, software, and systems.

This is at the heart of my keynote at ISC 2022 in Hamburg, Germany.

Start with Silicon and Heterogeneous Compute Architecture

We have an aggressive HPC roadmap planned through 2024 that will deliver a diverse portfolio of heterogeneous architectures. These architectures will allow us to improve performance by orders of magnitude while reducing power demands across both general-purpose and emerging workloads such as AI, encryption and analytics.

The Intel® Xeon® processor code-named Sapphire Rapids with High Bandwidth Memory (HBM) is a great example of how we are leveraging advanced packaging technologies and silicon innovations to bring substantial performance, bandwidth and power-saving improvements for HPC. With up to 64 gigabytes of high-bandwidth HBM2e memory in the package and accelerators integrated into the CPU, we're able to unleash memory bandwidth-bound workloads while delivering significant performance improvements across key HPC use cases. When comparing 3rd Gen Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors to the upcoming Sapphire Rapids HBM processors, we are seeing two- to three-times performance increases across weather research, energy, manufacturing and physics workloads. At the keynote, Ansys CTO Prith Banerjee also shows that Sapphire Rapids HBM delivers up to 2x performance increase on real-world workloads from Ansys Fluent and ParSeNet.

Compute density is another imperative as we push for orders of magnitude performance gains across HPC and AI supercomputing workloads. Our first flagship Intel data center graphics processing unit (GPU), code-named Ponte Vecchio, is already outperforming competition for complex financial services applications and AI inference and training workloads. We also show that Ponte Vecchio is accelerating high-fidelity simulation by 2x with OpenMC.

We are not stopping here. Today we are announcing our successor to this powerhouse data center GPU, code-named Rialto Bridge. By evolving the Ponte Vecchio architecture and combining enhanced tiles with next process node technology, Rialto Bridge will offer significantly increased density, performance and efficiency, while providing software consistency.

Looking ahead, Falcon Shores is the next major architecture innovation on our roadmap, bringing x86 CPU and Xe GPU architectures together into a single socket. This architecture is targeted for 2024 and projected to deliver benefits of more than 5x performance-per-watt, 5x compute density, 5x memory capacity and bandwidth improvements.

Tenets of a Successful Software Strategy: Open, Choice, Trust

Silicon is just sand without software to bring it to life. Our approach to software is to facilitate open development across the entire stack and to provide tools, platforms and software IP to help developers be more productive and to produce scalable, better-performing, more efficient code that can take advantage of the latest silicon innovations without the burden of refactoring code. The oneAPI industry initiative provides HPC developers with cross-architecture programming so code can be targeted to CPUs, GPUs and other specialized accelerators transparently and portably.

There are now more than 20 oneAPI Centers of Excellence at leading research and academic institutions around the world, and they are making significant progress. For example, Simon MacIntosh-Smith and his team at Bristol University's Science Department are developing best practices for achieving performance portability at exascale using oneAPI and the Khronos Group's SYCL abstraction layer for cross-architecture programming. Their work will ensure that scientific code can achieve high performance on massive heterogeneous supercomputing systems around the world.

Tying It Together: Systems for Sustainable Heterogeneous Computing

As the data center and HPC workloads increasingly move toward disaggregated architectures and heterogeneous computing, we will need tools that can help us effectively manage these complex and diverse computing environments.

Today, we are introducing Intel® XPU Manager, an open-source solution for monitoring and managing Intel data center GPUs locally and remotely. It was designed to simplify administration, to maximize reliability and uptime by running comprehensive diagnostics, to improve utilization and to perform firmware updates.

A Distributed Asynchronous Object Storage (DAOS) file system provides system-level optimizations for the power-hunger tasks of moving and storing data. DAOS has an enormous impact on file system performance, both improving overall access time and reducing the capacity required for storage to reduce data center footprints and increase energy efficiency. In I/O 500 results relative to Lustre, DAOS achieved a 70x increase in hard write file system performance.

Addressing the HPC Sustainability Challenge

We are proud to be partnering with like-minded customers and leading research institutions around the world to achieve a more sustainable and open HPC. Recent examples include our partnership with the Barcelona Supercomputing Center to set up a pioneering RISC-V zettascale lab, and our continued collaboration with the University of Cambridge and Dell to evolve the current Exascale Lab into the new Cambridge Zettascale Lab. These efforts build on our plans to create a robust EU innovation ecosystem for the future of compute.

The bottom line is no single company can do it alone. The entire ecosystem needs to equally lean in, across manufacturing, silicon, interconnect, software and systems. By doing this together, we can turn one of the biggest HPC challenges of the century into the opportunity of the century - and change the world for future generations.

Jeff McVeigh is vice president and general manager of the Super Compute Group at Intel Corporation.

Published Tuesday, May 31, 2022 1:08 PM by David Marshall
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